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Tuesday night Orioles game thread: at Mets, 7:10

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The Orioles’ pitching staff has been lights out in September. Can John Means join the party?

MLB: Washington Nationals at Baltimore Orioles Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

How about that Orioles pitching staff, huh?

Time was, when you made a statement like that, you were usually being sarcastic. The last couple of years have inflicted some absolutely horrible pitching on Birdland, and even the contending O’s teams of the recent past weren’t known for having stellar pitchers, aside from the occasional Zack Britton.

But this cobbled-together 2020 O’s pitching staff looks like it’s starting to gel, especially with the additions of promising rookies Keegan Akin and Dean Kremer to the rotation. Since the start of September, the Orioles boast a 3.12 team ERA, third-best in the American League behind the Indians and Twins. Their 3.10 starters’ ERA is fourth-best (behind the Indians, Mariners, and Twins).

The Birds have especially sparkled in the bullpen, where their 3.13 ERA leads all AL teams this month. And this is after they traded Mychal Givens and Miguel Castro at the deadline. So far, others have capably stepped in to fill in the gaps.

One guy who hasn’t joined in on the pitching fun this year is last year’s ace, John Means, who’s still searching for his first victory. Means is 0-3 with an 8.10 ERA in six starts, though in his last outing against these Mets he was finally able to complete five innings for the first time. A return to form, or anything close to form, from Means would go a long way to bolstering this O’s staff even further.

Meanwhile, if you didn’t hear the “exciting” news, Chris Davis is back. If you’re like me, you probably assumed — or at least hoped — the O’s would just shut him down for the year after he went on the IL with left knee patellar tendinitis Aug. 21. Turns out he’s been working out at the Bowie alternate site for quite some time, and now he’s back on the active roster, with Dilson Herrera designated for assignment.

(heavy sigh) Well, here goes nothing. Maybe this will be the beginning of Davis’ turnaround. Right? ....Right? In any case, he’s not in tonight’s lineup against right-hander Michael Wacha.

Orioles lineup:

2B Hanser Alberto
SS Jose Iglesias
DH Renato Nunez
C Pedro Severino
LF Ryan Mountcastle
RF DJ Stewart
1B Pat Valaika
3B Rio Ruiz
CF Cedric Mullins

LHP John Means

Mets lineup:

LF Jeff McNeil
DH J.D. Davis
RF Michael Conforto
3B Todd Frazier
1B Pete Alonso
CF Jake Marisnick
2B Andres Gimenez
C Wilson Ramos
SS Amed Rosario

RHP Michael Wacha